HAVS Surveillance

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a widespread condition in many industries and occupations. HAV exposure at work can arise from the use of hand-held power tools, hand-guided machinery and hand-fed machines (such as pedestal grinders). Prolonged and regular exposure to this vibration can affect the operator’s health.

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations require all employers to have health surveillance programmes in place where people are at risk. Health surveillance must be in place for employees who are exposed above the action value (2.5m/s A (8)) and for employees who are sensitive to vibration to minimise the risk of further damage.

Health Surveillance for HAVS

Health surveillance for HAVS should be carried out by competent persons and who received training in HAVS assessments; K2A staff has completed the Faculty of Occupational Medicine HAVS course.

The health surveillance has been simplified to encompass a “tiered approach”:

Tier One: Initial or Baseline Assessment

This comprises of a HAVS questionnaire to be used for employees working with vibrating tools. If the resulting questionnaire indicates any symptoms of HAVS, this would require referral to Tier Three.

Tier Two: Annual (Screening) Questionnaire

In the absence of HAVS health issues being declared at Tier One, a HAVS questionnaire should be administered at twelve monthly intervals.

Tier Three: Assessment by a Qualified Person.

This involves a HAVS health assessment by a suitably qualified Occupational Health professional. A further questionnaire is completed by the employee at this stage which asks relevant questions regarding their medical history, social/leisure pursuits and family health issues. This is assessed and if the results indicate a likelihood of HAVS signs and symptoms, then a referral to an Occupational Health Physician, Tier Four, is recommended.

Tier Four: Formal Diagnosis

The employee will be seen and examined by an Occupational Health Physician. A formal diagnosis may be made at this stage, indicating the extent of the condition by “staging” under the Stockholm Workshop Scale of 0 to 3. It is at this stage, depending on the diagnosis and staging, that reporting under the RIDDOR 1995 regulations will be recommended. The reporting under RIDDOR is the responsibility of the Employer. A “Fitness for Work” recommendation will be made.

Tier Five: Use of Standardised Tests (optional)

The Occupational Health Physician may recommend that a referral for objective testing is made.

K2A Hand Arm Vibration Health Surveillance includes:

  • Explaining how to assess the risks in tools and showing how to reduce risk
  • Performing Vibration risk assessments
  • Providing appropriate Health Surveillance at Tier 1-5
  • Confidential data management and reporting, with employee consent
  • Worker education at time of test
  • Records retained in line with statute (40 years)
  • Completed COSHH report for each individual to be kept at your company to demonstrate to regulators that you are compliant with the law
  • Running a training courses on Hand-Arm Vibration

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